A Florida man says his life was almost cut short after a grocery store employee stabbed him in the face after he asked to use the bathroom. Now, his lawyer is planning to file a legal suit.
Harold Williams was at a Pines Market in Pembroke Pines, Fla., earlier this month when he was stabbed in the face while trying to locate the commode on March 16, CBS Miami reported. Williams, a Bahamas native and executive with Bahamas Air, said he asked two clerks if he could use the bathroom and they obliged.
One of the workers accompanied him to the back of the store, he said, and that’s when he felt what he initially thought was a sucker punch to his left cheek. After noticing the bloody scene, however, Williams quickly realized he’d been stabbed — not punched.
“It wasn’t until I looked down, and I saw him holding a kitchen knife, 8 or 10 inches long,” he told WSVN. “The only thing I asked was to use the restroom, and I was attacked. The man nearly took my life.”
The brutal attack landed him in the hospital for five weeks, the local station reported. Police said Williams received stitches for a deep gash and could need facial surgery.
The Pines Market is now shuttered and a 24-year-old employee, Fawaz Zarif Hassan, has been charged with second-degree felony causing bodily harm. Hassan’s attorney claims his client acted in self-defense, however, store surveillance showed that Williams posed no threat to the establishment or its employees, according to investigators.
Williams’ lawyer Jasmine Rand said she believes her client was targeted because of his race.
“My client was unarmed, unprovoked and it’s unjustifiable,” Rand said. “I have reason to believe this was racially motivated. I want to ensure the prosecutor’s office continues to investigate whether or not racial bias was a factor.”
Hassan was released from Broward County Jail on Sunday on $10,000 bond, jail records show.
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